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Utah Gymnastics Fall to UCLA 198.025-197.625

The Utah Red Rocks fell at home to the defending national champions UCLA Bruins 198.025-197.625. This marks a season-high score for the Red Rocks. Coach Tom Farden called this the team’s most complete meet of the season.

Utah started out strong on the vault, with MaKenna Merrell-Giles (9.950), MyKayla Skinner (9.925), and Kim Tessen (9.900) all scoring at least a 9.900 or higher. Despite the strong vault set, Utah trailed UCLA 49.550-49.450. It did not take long to see the first 10.0 of the meet, going to UCLA’s Kyla Ross closing out UCLA’s bars set during the meet’s first rotation. Madison Kocian (9.950) and Norah Flatley (9.925) both topped 9.900 for UCLA on bars in addition to Ross’s 10.0.

Fans were audibly hostile due to some scoring in the second rotation, after a beautiful bar routine from Hunter Dula received only a 9.850 while UCLA’s Felicia Hano received a 9.950 on vault. Utah posted a solid bars score of 49.400, led by Skinner’s 9.950 to anchor the rotation. UCLA received a 49.425 on vault, with Hano’s 9.950, and a 9.925 from Ross. Halfway through the meet, UCLA held the 98.975-98.850 lead.

Moving to the third rotation, the atmosphere inside the the Huntsman Center had shifted from excited and jovial to outright aggrivated. This additional emotion perhaps fueled the Red Rocks, who posted their highest team score of the season, netting a 49.375, thanks in part to a massive 9.950 from Skinner. Adrienne Randall and Alexia Burch each claimed a 9.875 in the third rotation, helping Utah stay within striking distance as they trailed 148.225 to 148.475.

With tensions high, the pressure was on the Red Rocks to turn in a high score on the floor, and they didn’t disappoint. Macey Roberts kicked off the rotation with a 9.875, much to the dismay of the crowd in attendance, followed by a fair 9.900 from Kari Lee. Sydney Soloski’s run earned a 9.925, putting fans on their feet. That excitement quickly died after Skinner’s 9.925 once again displeased the vocal fan base who felt the star was deserving of her first 10.000 of the season. Despite a valiant effort from the Red Rocks, the end result favored UCLA, earning a 198.025 to 197.625.